6 Major Newsworthy Topics from Summer 2019

 

 

Being back at school means many things, and one of those is difficulty keeping up with the news. How is it possible to keep up with the news when it is constantly changing? It is even more challenging during summer months when students have off from school, people go on vacation and life just slows down. Many newsworthy events occurred this summer from President Donald Trump changing immigration policies to several devastating mass shootings. No event should go unnoticed, especially if they are relevant to the wellbeing of this country and its people. They should be acknowledged. So, here is a quick briefing on important events in the United States that made headlines this summer. 

 

Abortion Bans and Women’s Health Care Rights

Abortion debates have been a hot topic ever since the first few states began to ban legal abortions. The first few bans occurred in March, beginning with Arkansas and Kentucky. In May, Alabama passed the strictest law in the country, allowing no exceptions for rape or incest. Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missourio, Ohio and Utah have also made laws restricting abortion access. Despite the bans, some states have been actively trying to protect abortion rights. Nevada became the first state that passed a law decriminalizing abortion. Other states such as Illinois, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont soon followed the trend to protect access (U.S. News).

 

On Aug. 19, Planned Parenthood—an organization that provides reproductive services and other healthcare options for women—announced they would no longer be accepting funding from the Title X program. President Trump and his administration have been fighting to cut funding for the program since he took office. Planned Parenthood representatives such as Acting President Alexis McGill Johnson did not want to follow the new rules Title X would have made the organization abide by. Many people including McGill believed that Trump and his team “forced” the organization to back out of funding because of the pressure to change the organization’s values. Planned Parenthood sent a clear message about how they wanted to run their organization and treat their patients (Vogue).

 

U.S. Detention Facilities or Filthy Border Camps?

As the nation’s immigration debates continued, in late June news emerged about the horrible conditions immigrants faced in detention centers. Texas quickly became the state to watch as the terrible conditions of the detention facilities came to light. Dozens of children were locked in what were described as cages with little to no nutritious food and no access to showers or other hygienic facilities. Children were hungry and dirty with no idea of when they would see their parents again. Officials in the center reportedly laughed at crying children, screamed at others and showed little respect to any of the kids in the center (CNN).

 

A court order to reform the detention centers came from Judge Dolly M. Gee of California after the horrible conditions were revealed. Judge Gee referenced previous violations from 1997 that had specific standards that were meant to be followed. Immediate inspections were to be held as many immigrants began getting sick in the camps. Although the order was given, many felt that the Trump Administration have not been protecting the people at the borders. Improving border conditions became a top priority for the nation (The New York Times).

 

The news of the camps had spread, and in July, representatives of the United Nations found the camps barbaric and detrimental to the health and welfare of children and others residing in the centers (USA Today).

 

Environmental Issues 

The environment also receives little to no help from the Trump administration. In late June at the G20 Summit in Japan, Trump denied the need for climate change regulations, arguing that the country’s air and water are clean. Trump also claimed wind power ‘“does not work”’ and further defended his decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord (Independent).

 

Trump and his administration have also weakened the Endangered Species Act. Scientists worry that the extinction of endangered species will disrupt the ecosystem. The new changes to the act would give less priority to “threatened” species over “endangered” ones. Some animals in danger are the North American wolverine, and the Northern spotted owl. There is a lot of criticism over the financial concerns of the government instead of the concerns of the planet (The Guardian).

 

Mueller Testimony

In late July, former special counsel Robert S. Mueller testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee who concluded that there was intended Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. Within Illinois, there was no concrete evidence of Russian interference. Despite many blacked out sections of his report, there is evidence that Russia may interfere in the upcoming election. While there was no physical evidence, the report reveals that intelligence agencies did not warn states of true Russian interference capabilities. The amount of redacted sections remains significant, even blocking future advice for protecting polling places. In addition, many legislations that protect election security continue to be blocked by Senator Mitch McConnell. People are concerned that the lack of protection leaves the U.S. vulnerable to another attack from Russia or even other countries in 2020 (The New York Times)

 

Throughout his testimony, Mueller did not answer many questions, citing the report for much of his responses. Although Mueller stated he does not exonerate Trump, impeachment became less likely. Most Democrats still support impeachment, while Republicans clear Trump of any wrongdoing. There is the possibility of indictment once Trump is out of office (USA Today).

 

Immigration 

Trump and his team are consistently shifting the immigration laws in this country. On Aug 12., Trump and one of his advisor Stephen Miller released a new rule that favored giving green cards to wealthier immigrants. This law is based on a merit system that targets legal immigrants to ensure that the new arrivals would be self-sufficient. Many advocate groups are worried that the law will send a negative, unwelcoming attitude toward immigrants and put a strain on immigrants who cannot afford important life necessities such as food. The law has caused many disputes and promises of legal action to block the law from going into effect (The New York Times).

 

In addition to the new law, new steps have been taken by Trump and his team to imprison undocumented children and families while immigration cases are pending for as long as necessary. The previous limit of detainment had been 20 days. Trump hopes to deter immigrants from crossing illegally. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan also believed that this new rule may prevent families from crossing out of concern for children. The rule would also ensure that detention facilities are reviewed monthly by third-party contractors. There have been many oppositions to this new rule as many believe some families could be stuck permanently. People believe it is now a question of what rights are truly fair and equal for immigrants (USA Today).

 

Devastating Mass Shootings

On Aug. 3—just days after a shooting in Gilroy, CA—over 20 people were killed in a mass shooting in El Paso Texas. The suspect, armed with a rifle, open fired in a crowded Walmart. 26 more were injured in the shooting. The gunman was 21-year-old Patrick Crusius. After his surrender to the police, his manifesto against hispanics was discovered. The document—called “‘The Inconvenient Truth”’—appeared online just before the shooting and blamed hispanics for changing Texan laws (The New York Times)

 

Just the following day, nine were killed in Dayton, Ohio with an AR-15 assault rifle. 27 others were wounded before police shot and killed the shooter, 24-year-old Connor Stephen Betts. The attack lasted about 30 seconds before Betts was killed (TIME). 

 

As you can see, a lot can happen in about three months. The news is always changing, so let us hope that we begin to see some good headlines in the coming months.